Conasauga River Watershed Cleanup Honored By Confluence Award

Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Pictured from left to right, are Gretchen Lugthart and Katie Owens, Conasauga River Watershed organizers, accepting the Confluence award from Rivers Alive representative Lynn Cobb during the River’s Alive award ceremony on April 15
Pictured from left to right, are Gretchen Lugthart and Katie Owens, Conasauga River Watershed organizers, accepting the Confluence award from Rivers Alive representative Lynn Cobb during the River’s Alive award ceremony on April 15

Volunteers and stream cleanup organizers from across the state recently met in Atlanta to celebrate the accomplishments of the state’s largest volunteer cleanup program, Rivers Alive.  The Rivers Alive awards honor the efforts of individuals and groups who are working to improve Georgia’s waterways, one trash bag at a time.  Volunteers wade into rivers, lakes and coastal waters each fall as part of the continuing statewide campaign to clean and preserve more than 70,000 miles of Georgia waterways.

The Rivers Alive awards ceremony, held on April 15, at Zoo Atlanta, recognized groups of volunteers, as well as individuals and businesses for their efforts in 2013.  The Confluence award, which recognizes successful community partnerships, was awarded to organizers of the annual Conasauga River Watershed Cleanup event.  Confluence, defined as the flowing together of two or more streams, or rivers, clearly describes the coming together of local organizations for one purpose.  The members of the organizing committee for the annual cleanup are Jeff Carrier (Carpet & Rug Institute), Dirk Verhoeff (Conasauga River Alliance & Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority), Gretchen and John Lugthart (Dalton State College), Phillip Pfeifer and David Oxford (Dalton Utilities), Sandy Adams (Keep Chatsworth-Murray Beautiful), Liz Swafford (Keep Dalton-Whitfield Beautiful), Josh Smith and Dan Huser (Limestone Valley RC & D), Brenda Jackson (Murray County Extension), Katie Owens (The Nature Conservancy), and Chris Hester (Whitfield County).

“This is certainly an appropriate award for our group,” said John Lugthart, one of the organizers and a Dalton State professor of biology.  “We have a great team of people, all of whom are committed to educating our community about the importance of protecting our local streams and the Conasauga River.  We are coming up on our 20th annual cleanup and are still going strong!” 

During the 2013 watershed cleanup 258 volunteers from Whitfield and Murray Counties removed trash, debris, and invasive plants from seven sites in the two counties.  Overall, volunteers collected and removed 8,329 pounds of trash and 37 tires. 

Funding sponsors for the 2013 event included: Shaw Industries, J&J Industries, Dalton Utilities, Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority, The Nature Conservancy, and the Conasauga River Alliance. 

At the state level, during the 2013 Cleanup, 27,679 volunteers cleaned more than 1,800 miles of waterways and removed over 500,000 pounds of trash and recyclables, including car parts, grocery carts, luggage, basketballs, TVs, sinks, bicycles, tires and plastic bottles. Rivers Alive is a program of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division. “Rivers Alive cleanups provide important opportunities for citizens to make a big difference while volunteering just a few hours of their time,” said EPD Director Jud Turner. “Citizens return home with a greater awareness of how our everyday choices impact our environment.”



Hamilton County Locals Win Conservation Achievement Awards

Tennessee Wildlife Federation, one of the largest and oldest nonprofits dedicated to the conservation of Tennessee’s wildlife and natural resources, hosted its 53rd Annual Conservation Achievement Awards. The ceremony was held in Nashville and presented 16 awards to recipients from all corners of the state, including Chattanooga-based Tennessee Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation ... (click for more)

Pollinator Festival Held On Lookout Mountain

The Pollinator Festival was held on Sunday in the Lookout Mountain School gym. It wa sponsored by the Bee City U.S.A., which both the Tennessee and Georgia. towns have joined. The aim is to promote best practices and to encourage people to help pollinators. The event was also sponsored by the Lookout Mountain Beautiful Garden Club.  (click for more)

State Seeking 1st-Degree Murder Conviction Against Donaldson For Killing Son-In-Law

The state is seeking a first-degree murder conviction against 57-year-old Glen Allen Donaldson for killed his son-in-law. Prosecutor Crystle Carrion told a jury in the courtroom of Judge Don Poole on Tuesday that there was no evidence that self-defense was involved in the slaying of Adam Levi, who was 39. However,attorney Jerry Summers said Donaldson said in a 911 call that ... (click for more)

City Budget Uses $36 Million From Various Reserve Funds

Daisy Madison, the city's chief financial officer, said the upcoming city budget uses $36 million from various reserve funds, including $11 million from the city's rainy day fund. The budget last year pulled $10 million from the rainy day fund. Ms. Madison told City Council members at a budget hearing she did not know exactly how much is remaining in the rainy day fund without ... (click for more)

Liberal Conspiracy Afoot

According to Roy Exum’s Sunday column, there are now upwards of six or seven Democrats in Hamilton County, and all of them have secretly maneuvered their way onto the boards of a couple of dozen local organizations. Unlike Republicans, some of them serve on multiple boards and some of them serve with one another on the same boards. This is outrageous. We all know that boards and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Please Don’t Get Numb

Several weeks ago we woke up to learn there had been another shooting in Chattanooga and the next day there were two paragraphs on the fourth page of the newspaper.  It has become so common we as a society have grown numb to it and, when a teen-aged girl in Texas said she wasn’t surprised last week when eight students and two teachers were massacred in her school some 30 miles ... (click for more)